Balham 1-0 Rusthall - Everyone says revenge will be great, says Rusthall boss Jimmy Anderson

Friday 09th August 2019
Balham 1 – 0 Rusthall
Location Wibbandune Stadium, Robin Hood Way, West Wimbledon, London SW20 0AA
Kickoff 09/08/2019 19:45

The Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Friday 9 August 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Wibbandune Stadium

RUSTHALL manager Jimmy Anderson says his side enjoyed playing in The FA Cup tonight – despite being knocked out at the first hurdle by Balham.

Greg Cruttwell’s side booked their place in the Preliminary Round where they will host the winner of tomorrow’s tie between Redhill or K Sports on Saturday 24 August after holding midfielder Ashley Snadden, a PE teacher based in Croydon, settled this Friday night tussle.

“Disappointed. I thought we played in patches in the game for the first 25 minutes, we started really well, put the ball in the box two or three times and we got in the six-yard box and we probably should’ve put it away but we didn’t have bodies in the box,” said Anderson.

“We played ok. It could’ve been a lot better.  Second half they’ve scored in the first six minutes. 

“Overall, am I happy? Yes and no! The no is obviously we’re out of The FA Cup. We’ve got these again in The FA Vase here where we’ll try to get our revenge.

“The yes is because I didn’t feel we looked out of place against a team whose in the league above us so-called and I felt we held our own. 

“We looked good at times, we didn’t really test their keeper that much. It could’ve been a lot better. The pitch is lovely, it allowed us to play football on it and I thought Luke Adams up front did really well for me tonight. He battled against two big strong centre-halves.”

Balham went into this Extra Preliminary Round tie in eighth-place in the Cherry Red Records Combined Counties League Premier Division game after coming away from Camberley Town with a 2-1 win last Saturday.

Rusthall play a level lower after losing their Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division status after two years of struggle and were held to a 1-1 draw by much-fancied Holmesdale last Saturday and were also in the top eight in the First Division standings.

Watched by a Friday night crowd of 146 on a wet night adjacent to the A3, Rusthall played out from the back and tried to hit the pacey Reuel Powell-Downey, while Balham’s central midfielder Dan David often dropped deep to pick possession but both sides were guilty of giving the ball away during the early exchanges.

Rusthall lost possession within their final third and Snadden played the ball into Tom Read, who dropped deep before charging forward to drill his right-footed shot sailing over the crossbar from 25-yards in the eleventh minute.

“Their 10 looked really lively in the first half. He kept on finding pockets in behind Paul Butler and Tommy Lawrence and found a lot of space,” said Anderson.

“Luckily, he missed that opportunity. We try and play out from the back as much as we can. That’s how we want to play. We’re not really a big team, we like it down on the floor and it doesn’t work perfectly every time.”

The Rustics’ gave the ball away again as Tommy Lawrence slipped on the wet turf and Snadden picked up the pieces inside the Rusthall half before feeding Tom Read, who drilled his right-footed shot over the crossbar from 25-yards.

Rusthall got away with it for a third time when in the 17th minute, Tom Read picked up the ball and cut into the box before stroking his right-footed shot past the foot of the left-hand post.

Rusthall missed a glorious chance to grab the lead in the 20th minute.

Left-back Bradley Large cut inside and fed striker Luke Adams, who dinked pass played in Stephen Camacho, who cut onto his right-foot and slid the ball towards the bottom left-hand corner from 20-yards, forcing Balham keeper Haydn Read to dive to his right to tip the ball behind for a corner.

“That was the one big chance that we had in the first half where the keeper has pulled off a save,” said Anderson.

“Prior to that we did get down the line and cut the ball across and unfortunately no one was in the area to put it away.”

Camacho was penalised for tripping the lively Tom Read but Balham’s resulting free-kick, taken left-footed by winger Tomasz Wocial sailed just over the crossbar from 28-yards.

Large gave the ball away to Piers Oldland, who played the ball inside to Tom Read, who put striker Jack Robinson in and he skipped past Ryan Styles and was denied by Rusthall keeper Aaron McGuighan, who swiftly came off his line and got something to the shot to ensure it nestled into the base of the side netting on the half-hour mark.

“We played in patches, mistakes were made tonight.  Ryan Styles came across and covered the angle and pushed him until Aaron came out and was sharp off his line and made a good save.”

Balham finished the first half on the front foot and they produced a great move in the 34th minute, which forced McGuighan into making a vital save.

Snadden sprayed the ball out to Oldland down the right, who easily cut inside Large and played in a low cross for Robinson, who got in front of Rusthall centre-half Robbie Bissett to sweep his first time shot straight into the knees of the alert keeper from eight-yards.

“It was a really good save, we told him that at half-time,” said Anderson.

“Aaron made a really good save there, did really well. He didn’t have much to do in the second half but the first half he made that good save.  He was talking, he distributed really quickly, like we want, so I was happy.”

Balham left-back Jack Haire advanced over the halfway line before feeding Tom Read, who clipped a diagonal over to Oldland, who cut inside Large but failed to keep his left-footed shot on target, drilling his shot harmlessly wide of the far post.

Rusthall received a slice of luck in the 38th minute when Styles allowed Snadden’s ball go over the top and play in Wocial, who slid his shot just past the left-hand post from 15-yards with only the keeper to beat.

“We were fortunate there, that it didn’t go in the back of the net,” admitted Anderson.

“That was another mistake from us at the back trying to play out.  They were working on that. I felt we were on top for the first 25 minutes and the last 20 they came into the game and pressed high and it made us make a few mistakes.  I’ve got a young team so when they make mistakes they tend to panic and mistakes will creep in so that’s something we need to work on.”

Wocial then turned provider as his through ball opened up the Rusthall defence but Tom Read – who wasn’t a threat during the second half – flashed his right-footed drive past the left-hand post from 25-yards.

Balham created more goalscoring chances during the first half but Anderson said he was pleased to go in on level terms.

“To be honest with you, I was pleased that we got in 0-0 at half-time.  They were on top towards the end of the half. They had a couple of chances,” said Anderson.

“I said to them keep playing. We needed to get tighter to their 10 (Tom Read), who I thought was finding too much space in the middle.

“I said lets be nice and tight for the first 10-15 minutes but unfortunately we conceded in the first six minutes straight after half-time, which is always a bit of a killer but he tucked it away quite nicely in the corner.”

Rusthall created a decent opening after only 50 seconds into the second half.

Large released Powell-Downey down the line and he played the ball inside to central midfielder Lawrence, who was given space to unleash a right-footed drive from 30-yards, which was held comfortably by Haydn Read on his knees as Lawrence tried to find the bottom left-hand corner from distance.

“We said at half-time, we’d like to test the keeper a little bit more, obviously with the lovely pitch we’re playing on and the rain tonight we said get shots away as quick as we can. They had two really good centre-halves, who I felt were strong and they defended really well.  Getting shots away from 30-yards, who knows, it could’ve gone in!”

However, Balham scored the only goal of the game with five minutes and eight seconds on the clock.

Snadden started the move by playing the ball up to Oldland, who played the ball into Tom Read, who cut inside on the edge of the Rustics’ box and his driven shot was blocked by a crowd of players and fell to Snadden, who swept his first time left-footed shot across the keeper to find the bottom far corner from 16-yards.

“The seven (Oldland) came off the wing and had a shot and we had two or three bodies in front and it’s fallen nicely for the centre-midfielder, who then tucked it into the bottom corner,” said Anderson.

“It’s a great finish by him putting it away in the corner but it’s a bit of a sloppy one from us.

“Can I say reactions should’ve been better for closing him down? Maybe. Can I say why are we letting the seven cut in from the wing to get the shot away? There’s loads of ifs and bits but unfortunately that’s the winning goal for them tonight.”

Rusthall produced a good move and were inches away from equalising within five minutes.

Lawrence played the ball inside to Lorenzo Cuozzo, who slipped the ball in behind Balham centre-half Marco Erriu to put Luke Adams in on goal. The former Punjab United striker cut the ball onto his right foot before drilling his shot just over the crossbar from 25-yards.

“From where I was standing, I thought it was in to be honest with you,” added Anderson.

“It just kept on rising and went over the bar. It was disappointing but we’re trying to get shots away nice and early and that was quite far out as well.”

Balham used substitute striker James Adebayo as an outlet as his power and pace was a constant threat on the counter-attack and Balham called McGuighan into making a save in the 65th minute.

Balham left-back Haire cut inside and David’s chip sent Adebayo on his way and Tom Read cut inside and his low drive towards the bottom far corner was smothered by McGuighan as Lawrence slid in to attempt a block.

Rusthall kept knocking on the door but they didn’t have enough quality to fashion a real goalscoring chance against a well-drilled Balham back four.

Camacho floated in a corner from the right and Styles came up from the back and found a pocket of space on the penalty spot to glance his free header sailing harmlessly past the far post.

“It was probably too high for Ryan Styles. We’re not blessed with height in my team. We’re quite small. It was unfortunate. It was a chance but it didn’t go in,” added Anderson.

Rusthall remained patient and produced a good move when Louis Anderson and Camacho linked up well in midfield before substitute Louis Clarke received the ball and played in Powell-Downey, but Haydn Read rushed off his line and narrowed the angle and a lucky ricochet ensured the ball bounced off the Rusthall man before it bounced wide of the upright.

“I thought that was a really great save,” said Anderson.

“That was probably our best chance for the whole game to be honest with you.  That was probably better than the Camacho one in the first half but their keeper made himself really big and made a great save.

“It’s gutting on our part. I felt Reuel Powell-Downey started the game really well in the middle and then went a bit missing and then towards the end came alive. We need to work on Reuel. He’s a talented young man, who can produce the goods when needed.”

With nine minutes left, Balham brought on Khalid Savage at left-back and right-back Julian Fuller partnered Erriu at the heart of defence, while left-back Haire moved across to right-back.

Rusthall lost composure as time ticked on, often overhitting passes that went out for goal-kicks and they created one final chance to force a replay inside the final four minutes.

Lawrence clipped the ball over the top and winger Clarke looped his header from the edge of the box, which was meat and drink for goalkeeper Haydn Read, catching the ball underneath his crossbar.

Balham scoop £2,250 in prize money, while Rusthall receive £750.

Anderson said: “It was everything I suppose you want from The FA Cup. It’s a lovely pitch, a Friday night in the middle of nowhere, hard to get to, raining. We haven’t been destroyed tonight. We’ve been beat narrowly by one goal, a sloppy goal but we’ll live and learn. It’s a great experience for my boys and myself.”

Anderson takes his side back to Balham on Saturday 31 August in The Buildbase FA Vase First Qualifying Round.

“Everyone says revenge will be great but we’ll just treat it like any other game. We’re going to know the pitch is going to be great for us but we’ll come here full of confidence like we did today.

“It’s always nice to win money for the club. I’m sure the club will find something to do with it.”

Rusthall welcome Lydd Town to Jockey Farm Stadium next Saturday 17 August (15:00).

“Our attention turns to that now. It’s a massive game for us,” said Anderson.

“We’d like to finish in the top four. That’s something that every club is pretty much saying in the league so you wouldn’t be doing your job if a manager didn’t say that but I feel we’ve got quality in the squad and like tonight it didn’t show they’re a Step Five side and we’re a Step Six side.

“I’d like to say thank you very much for travelling. It’s a long old way from Rusthall. They probably went up and down the A3 trying to find the ground. It’s a quite hard place to find.

“My fans’ have been great every home game. We usually have about 100-120 so absolutely great for my young team to be supported and it’s disappointing for them to come all this way but we got clapped off when we lose so they’re really great and we’ll go again.”

Balham: Haydn Read, Julian Fuller, Jack Haire, Ashley Snadden, Marco Erriu, Frank Charnock (Khalid Savage 81), Piers Oldland, Dan David, Jack Robinson (James Adebayo 59), Tom Read, Tomasz Wocial.
Subs: Brandon Pickard, Dan Forde

Goal: Ashley Snadden 51

Rusthall: Aaron McGuighan, Louis Anderson, Bradley Large (Callum Gallie 73), Paul Butler, Ryan Styles, Robbie Bissett (Jake Hampson 90), Stephen Camacho, Tommy Lawrence, Luke Adams, Lorenzo Cuozzo (Louis Clarke 56), Reuel Powell-Downey.
Subs: Callum Hampson, Eddie Jonas, Joe Newman, Stephen Harper

Booked: Paul Butler 90

Attendance: 146
Referee: Mr Nigel Owen (East Molesey, Surrey)
Assistants: Mr Ian Skull (Feltham, Middlesex) & Mr Ian Hempel (Chessington, Surrey)